Nap Your Way to Success: Science Says Napping at Work Increases Productivity 75

This is a guest post by Ali Jan Qadir from SleepJunkie. When he’s not busy practicing sleeping, he likes to study and blog about sleep the neurochemistry of it. Follow him on Twitter.

Working environments these days are getting increasingly competitive. Many of us spend long hours at work, trying to get on top of an ever expanding pile of to-dos and meetings. Some of us also get to carry our work home with us. The line between work time and personal time has started to get thinner and thinner and is teetering on the brink of being dangerously unhealthy.

The time the average worker has to get proper night’s sleep is dwindling. The amount of sleep that an American worker gets per night (on average) has slid down from a healthy 8.25 hours of sleep to 6.75 hours of sleep, research shows.

That is a staggering amount of sleep lost and is what accounts for those long Monday morning faces at work, that drag on well into the middle of the week!

An unorthodox solution that is gaining popularity and work culture acceptance fast is taking a nap during work hours.

Is napping at work really a thing now?

“Napping on the job? Preposterous! That would look bad! Not to mention the chewing out I’ll get from the boss if she catches me snoozing on the clock!”

Quite the contrary, a lot of companies are hopping on this bandwagon and with good reason!

Researches show that taking a 24 minute nap can have a 34% boost on performance and a whopping 54% increase in alertness.

Those are HUGE numbers towards overall increase in productivity.

One of the first companies to truly embrace on the clock napping, Yarde Metals, has the practice deeply ingrained into their work culture, since 1995!

Craig Yarde, founder of the company finds it funny that napping on the job went from being totally ridiculous to being cutting edge. They did it before it was cool and now swear by it and it’s not just them, sanctioned naps are very popular in tech companies where employees have to work long, unpredictable hours.

Non-tech companies like, Huffington post, Nike and, surprisingly, even Ben and Jerry’s are onboard with napping at work.

Napping can boost your productivity.

drowsiness at work

“Drowsiness” at work costs the U.S $18 Billion a year.

A lot of companies focus on the health of their employees by offering in house gyms or gym memberships, but most forget about the importance of a well-rested employee.

The longer you’re awake, the more drained you get. Which is why catching a quick nap is a sure fire way to rejuvenate. You will feel better, be more alert and, be able to focus on the task at hand.

In a study, researchers at the University of Michigan found that participants that were napping on a regular basis were able to perform tasks much faster than participants who were not given the opportunity to snooze.

The study also found that well rested individuals had more control of their emotions than people who did not nap.

Thus napping at work isn’t just only a cost efficient way to increase workplace productivity but also improve teamwork and synergy as employees with more emotional control can collaborate better.  Workers spending more time focusing on their tasks than being passive aggressive to each other is a good sight for any manager.

Napping boosts your brain’s performance at work.

Research conducted at the University of Berkeley has shown that not being well rested actually decreases the ability of the brain to learn and retain information by nearly 40 percent! This owing to a shutdown of brain regions because of sleep deprivation.

“Sleep not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before you took a nap,” said Matthew Walker, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and the lead investigator of these studies.

In the study, 39 healthy young adults were divided into two groups and given taxing, rigorous learning tasks that were intended to test the hippocampus region of the brain that helps store fact based memories. Initially the groups, with and without naps, performed comparably. However, as the day went on and one group was given the opportunity to take a nap while the other wasn’t, performance metrics tilted dramatically in the favor of the group that had been given a nap.

Napping can keep you safe.

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Does your job require proximity to potentially dangerous equipment? Perhaps you work with machines on a factory floor? Maybe, your work requires you to drive for long periods of time. Do you handle sensitive materials and equipment?

If you do, ensuring you are wide-awake and alert can mean the difference between life and death for you or a fellow . If you aren’t well rested, you are much more likely to slip up, miss an important detail, react slower.

Research by NASA formulates that a short 30-minute nap raises reaction times by 16% and task performance by 34%. This works out in both your and your employer’s favor that won’t end up with more accidents at work.

Remember, Caffeine is NOT your friend!

If your body is not getting enough sleep, you are not going to be on top of your game at work.

No, having obscene amounts of caffeine and energy drink shots during the day are NOT making you more productive. It is NOT improving your cognitive skills and bandwidth, if anything they are forcing your body to stay awake thus putting it under a lot of undue stress.

You can, however, make up for the reduced amount of sleep that you are getting by napping at work.

Time your nap right!

Even if you are getting a good night’s rest, napping during the workday can still be beneficial. Depending on the type of tasks that you perform at work, you can take a preventive (just before the task) or an operational (during the task) nap. Be sure to time your naps right to get the most out of them and to make up for sleep inertia (the time it takes your body to get out of its drowsy, sleepy state).

If you’re lucky we hope your job is nap friendly and if it’s not, you should ask your boss to read this article.

So, are you ready to give napping at work a try?

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 11

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.